Planned Parenthood is Unregulated

Planned Parenthood refers to its abortion clinics as “health centers.”

But they are not health centers, because they do not have to meet the same medical, safety or sanitation standards as other outpatient surgical clinics. Dental offices are more regulated than abortion clinics.

In fact, Planned Parenthood fights regulation. But if Planned Parenthood had high health care standards, what would they have to worry about?

In This Section:

• Why Abortion Clinics Need Regulation

• Planned Parenthood Hurts Women

• Lack of Statistics

• Missouri Passes Abortion Clinic Standards Legislation


Why Abortion Clinics Need Regulation

Abortion clinics need regulation, because they are doing invasive surgery and there are many things that can go wrong. Even in the first trimester (first 12 weeks of pregnancy), possible complications from abortion include hemorrhaging, blood clots, infection, punctured uterus, cervical laceration, septic shock, coma and even death.

And things do go wrong. Here are a few examples.

Planned Parenthood Hurts Women

These are only a few Planned Parenthood horror stories:

Holly Patterson, age 18 – San Francisco, CA

Died: September 17, 2003

Holly Patterson was given RU-486 at Planned Parenthood’s Hayward clinic in San Francisco on September 10, 2003. She later called the Planned Parenthood clinic’s hotline twice after suffering extreme cramping. The first time, she was told to take the prescription pain killer they gave her. The second time, she was instructed to go to an emergency room. She later died in the emergency room of a Clostridium sordellii infection.

More info on RU-486 deaths in the U.S.

Diana Lopez, age 25 – Los Angeles, CA

Died: February 28, 2002

Diana Lopez went to the Los Angeles Planned Parenthood for an abortion when she was 18 weeks into her pregnancy. Planned Parenthood’s abortionist punctured her cervix during the abortion and she later bled to death at a nearby hospital.

The Physicians for Life website cataloged the failures by Planned Parenthood in the Lopez case, as reported by The Sacramento Bee:

• Failure to contact the state within 24 hours after Lopez was taken to a hospital, as required by the state. The state was notified six days after Lopez died.

• Failure to implement a policy that would have advised against an abortion for Lopez because her hemoglobin (a substance in the blood) was too low.

• Inappropriate use of misoprostol, a drug used to promote contractions. Surgical abortion policy dictates that the drug may be given 90 minutes before an abortion. Records show Lopez was given the drug a day earlier.

• Failure by the clinic’s board of directors to “exercise oversight responsibility for ensuring the operation of the clinic.” Minutes from board meetings, for example, did not document “any adverse outcome related to patient care within the facility.”

• Failure to keep a detailed health record on Lopez including her diagnoses, type of anesthesia used during the procedure, surgical findings and the procedure performed.

• According to the newspaper, the state also said the clinic failed to obtain a valid informed consent from the patient prior to surgery. A “reproductive health specialist,” instead of the physician performing the procedure, had obtained the signed consent, which does not meet state requirements.

Linda McCown, 27 – Overland Park, KS

Left in a Coma: November 2, 2000

Linda McCown of Sedalia, Missouri was 27 when she went to Planned Parenthood in Overland Park, KS for tubal ligation surgery. During the surgery, an oxygen tube that was supposed to be placed in her lung, was placed in her stomach instead. Lack of oxygen caused McCown, a mother of four, to go into a coma

Planned Parenthood has a long history of hurting women. Researcher Kevin Sherlock documented over 140 lawsuits against Planned Parenthood in his 1997 book, The Scarlet Survey, for abuses such as unsanitary conditions, health code violations, medical malpractice, equipment deficiency, fraudulent billing, altered lab reports, sex offenses and more.

(Source: STOPP “Wednesday STOPP Report,” 10/12/05)

More info on how Planned Parenthood Hurts Women

Planned Parenthood also has a history of covering up for statutory rapists and other sexual predators. More info on how Planned Parenthood Shields Sexual Predators.

Lack of Statistics

There are also problems with reporting abortion statistics.

The Centers for Disease Control, which is responsible for reporting abortion statistics in the United States does not have any statistics more recent than 2003 and even this data is incomplete, due to inconsistencies and lack of reporting.

In Iowa, abortion statistics are not reported by county as in the rest of the country. There are designated “Maternal and Child Health Regions.”

Abortion clinics in Iowa are mandated to report the number of abortions every 30 days. Despite this, the Iowa Department of Public Health State Center for Health Statistics’s data is incomplete. The IDPH’s most recent “ is 2004 Termination of Pregnancy Report”, The IDPH even admits in this report, “not all terminations are reported in a timely enough fashion to be included in the report.”

The CDC sites their sources for their “Abortion Surveillance” report as the following:

Sources of data on abortion-related deaths included national and state vital records, maternal mortality review committees, surveys, private citizens and groups, media reports, health-care providers, medical examiners’ reports, and computerized searches of full-text newspaper/print media databases.


If much of the CDC’s reporting relies on news media and private citizens and groups, unless there is a lawsuit by the victim or her family, it is easy for an abortion clinic to escape unscathed.

Deaths caused by abortion are usually not attributed to the abortion clinic, but the hospital where the person is declared dead. And even then, chances are the death may be reported as “septic shock” or “blood clot” and not “complications from an abortion.”

The most recent abortion statistics come from Planned Parenthood themselves as well as Planned Parenthood’s research arm, The Alan Guttmacher Institute.

Can you count on Planned Parenthood to report accurately?

During nationwide trials of the French abortion pill, RU 486, a spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood of Greater Iowa told the press that there had been no complications among the women participating in the trial at Planned Parenthood’s Des Moines clinic. Later reports indicated that at least one woman who had taken the abortion pill at the Des Moines clinic nearly bled to death.

Missouri Legislation for Abortion Clinic Standards

Missouri passed a law in 2007 requiring abortion clinics to meet the same medical standards as ambulatory surgery centers, which are clinics that provide same-day, outpatient surgical procedures. Abortion clinics which must meet the standards are those that perform second and third trimester abortions as well as those that perform more than five first trimester abortions per month.

The Planned Parenthood Affiliates of Missouri website opposed the law because it will “impose unnecessary regulation on abortion clinics.” Safety and sanitation – these are unnecessary? The bill also bans Planned Parenthood speakers from the public schools.

Planned Planned Parenthood Will Not Regulate Themselves

If Planned Parenthood is performing invasive surgeries, it should be required to meet the same sanitation and safety regulations as other clinics that perform outpatient surgeries. There also needs to be better standards in the reporting of in abortion statistics and complications and consistent reporting across all the U.S. We can’t rely on Planned Parenthood to regulate themselves.

What can you do? For More Info, visit our Fight Planned Parenthood page.